Bordeaux versus Burgundy

03. December 2006 Ingredient + Produce Features 0

The Dr. and I stopped by the Union Square Wines & Spirits store before we viewed the amazing Ron Mueck sculptures in the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday. They were having a free tasting of several Bordeaux and Burgundy wines from France with Marcus Lartigau, a French wine guru. We stayed for about an hour and we learned a lot of things during the tasting. I took notes and I’ll try to list them here from my indecipherable handwriting to share with you.

If you look at a map of France, you’ll see that Bordeaux is on the lower west side of the country, closer to Spain, while Burgundy is to the east. Red wine from Bordeaux is made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with small quantities of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot for blending. White Bordeaux is mostly made of Semillon but also with a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Ugni Blanc. Red Burgundy is made exclusively of the Pinot Noir grape while white Burgundy is all Chardonnay. Most of the wines from Bordeaux follow a classification that’s why a lot of people think they are more “intellectual” than Burgundy because of the rules they follow. A lot of vineyards in the Burgundy region have multiple owners so a lot of the wines come with several names on the labels. But the most obvious thing that a lot of people don’t know about the two wines is the bottle shape. Bordeaux bottles have high shoulders while Burgundy bottles slope.

The following list consists of the wines we tasted. My personal favorite was the red Bordeaux from Chateau du Tertre at around $35 a bottle:

1. Domain Michel Niellon 2004 Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc – Burgundy — a little anemic
2. Chateau Carbonnieux 2004 Pessac Leognan Graves Grand Cru – Bordeaux — grapefruit, very clean
3. Domain Ramonet 2004 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge – Burgundy — tangy in the beginning but very good in the end
4. Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2001 Pauillac Grand Cru – Bordeaux — some raisin, a little bit of spice
5. Chateau du Tertre 2002 Margaux Grand Cru – Bordeaux — bolder and fuller, more spice
6. Chateau Gruaud Larose 2003 Saint-Julien – Bordeaux — a little bit more alcohol and drier